Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gender Stuff

A.C. Wise, author of the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron set of tales, runs a blog series of "Authors to Read", featuring women and non-binary/genderqueer authors. I was surprised and pleased to be featured in her latest reviews, as she tackled my Beauty and the Beast recapture "She Must", from Capricious issue 1. It's a great reading of the story.

Wise originally pegged me as a non-binary author. In order to make sure I'm not taking up the space that belongs to wonderful nb/gq authors, I made it clear that I identify as a woman, and Wise adjusted the review to reflect that (thanks!).

Part of the author identity I am constructing is about experimenting with gender, and how this affects how my work is read. I deliberately chose gender neutral initials and bio pronouns in an effort to encourage a neutral read from an initial reader, but in this internet age it's not hard to find out that I'm a woman. Going gender neutral also gains the risk of being gendered regardless, because disguising oneself has been recognized as a very gendered thing to do in the writing industry.

I also have many complicated feelings around gender, and would love to smash the binary on a daily basis. I appreciate that some my closest writer friends understand what I'm doing, and that I don't intend to appropriate the nb/gq experience. However, intention isn't magic, and many people will read me and my work different. If anyone has issue how I go about this identity with regards to appropriation, I am more than open to discussion.

What I'm doing with my author identity is part Tiptree, part experimentation, part seat of the pants. We've still got a long way to go in literature before gender doesn't inform reading. I may not be entirely successful in smashing the binary on socially coded reading in my life time, but I'd like to give it a damn good try.

Sometimes I'm not entirely sure what or who AJ Fitzwater will become, and I appreciate my community's willingness to let me experiment and stretch.

(Parts of this blog post appeared originally in some of my Tweets 27/10/2015)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Causeway", The Future Fire Issue 2015.34

The Future Fire is one of those indie magazines I hugely respect for their vision, and I'm pleased to present my third story they have chosen to publish in their latest issue: "Causeway".

"Causeway" is a pre-Clarion story (I think of my writing in pre- and post-Clarion now) about humans abducted by aliens and held in a very pleasant cage, possibly for breeding purposes. It might sound like a fairly routine story, except I flip two tropes on their head. First, what if one of the captives is infertile? And second, I critique toxic masculinity behaviours in situations of stress, captivity and leadership.

Just like my two previous stories for the magazine, editor Djibril al-Ayad has chosen some glorious artwork, and both pieces illustrating my story are by Pandalion Death.

So here it is. "Causeway" in The Future Fire 2015.34. So pleased to be able to share it.

An image of a face in profile done in
multiple slashes of bright colour